PRINCE – 1999
Released October 27, 1982 – 33 years ago
Prince’s 5th studio release and “breakthrough” album fuses funk, rock, new wave, r&b and soul seamlessly. One of his most critically acclaimed and commercially successful works, it likely represents his most influential album as well. Its synth/drum machine-heavy arrangements drove r&b, pop, electro, house, and techno for the next two decades.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4pm M-F on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar. Each Monday at 4pm Kris Kerry stops by KXCI to give us insight on this classic album.
1999 was incredibly successful, representing Prince’s first top 10 album on the Billboard 200 (peaking at number 9 & number 4 on the R&B charts). It became the 5th best selling album of 1983 and was certified multi-platinum (4x platinum, or over 4 million sold). The title track, “1999,” was his first top 10 single in the US, soon followed by “Little Red Corvette” as his second top 10 single.
From its inception, 1999 received positive reviews from nearly every music critic, and continues to be hailed as a highly influential album: VH1 named 1999 49th on its list of the greatest albums of all time, Slant Magazine listed it as number 8 on its list of the Best Albums of the 1980s, and Rolling Stone listed it as 163 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time.
Prince arranged, composed, and produced 1999. While some recording took place at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, CA, the majority of recording too place at Kiowa Trail Studio in sub-urban Minneapolis, MN. Kiowa Trail Studio was located in Prince’s home on the banks of Lake Riley. He lived here for much of the 1980s. In addition to 1999, Controversy and Sign O’ The Times were also recorded here. This house was also known as the “Purple House,” as it was painted bright purple.
The album’s cover art, rumored to be done by Prince himself, is a collage that includes elements from Prince’s previous album, Controversy (namely the eyes and “rude boy” pin in the 9s in 1999, jacket studs in the ‘R,’ and his lips in the ‘P’). This was the first time he included a backing band on an album, albeit cryptically. “And The Revolution” is backward in the ‘I’ in Prince.
“Prince” isn’t a stage name. Prince Roger Nelson is the artist’s full name. He was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, MN.
In addition to being a vocalist, Prince is an incredibly talented musician who plays drums, keyboards, bass and, most notably, guitar. Even though most of his music isn’t guitar-centric, he can shred with the best of them. He is ranked 33 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists. Need proof? Check out his guitar solo during the all-star performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” during George Harrison’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2004. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SFNW5F8K9Y
Prince has received 33 Grammy nominations and won 7 awards, and he has won an Academy Award for Purple Rain (Best Original Song Score).
Prince was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of fame in 2004 (the same Induction Ceremony he plays guitar on in video link above). Alicia Keys presented the award.